The centenary of New Zealand's participation in the First World War was marked from 2014-2019 through commemorative events, projects and activities in all parts of the country.
The First World War (1914–1918) was one of the most significant events of the 20th Century and had a deep and lingering impact on New Zealand society. Just under ten percent of our then population of 1.1 million served overseas, of which more than 18,000 died. There were also over 40,000 hospitalisations due to injury or illness. Nearly every New Zealand family was affected by the impact of the war.
The growing attendance at Anzac Day ceremonies in New Zealand, and the steady increase in visitors to battlefields in Turkey and Europe, demonstrate a continuing interest in the significance of this conflict.
New Zealand's First World War Centenary (WW100) programme marked the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2019 (when our troops came home) — through a range of events, activities and projects in all parts of the country.
Major themes of the centenary
The WW100 commemoration themes across 2014–2019 match the chronology of events of 1914–1919:
- 2014: Duty and adventure
- 2015: The Anzac connection
- 2016: Transition - a national war effort
- 2017: The grind of war
- 2018: The darkness before the dawn
- 2019: Finding our way back
WW100 New Zealand
'WW100' was a shared identity for New Zealand First World War centenary projects and activities, from official state ceremonies and legacy projects to community initiatives and personal projects.
The WW100 programme offered every New Zealander the chance to consider the impact of the First World War — whether you reflected on the nature of war, remember family members who served, visited a memorial, or thought about how your community was affected by events long ago.
WW100 was an opportunity to better understand our past and how it still shapes us today. For recent immigrants it is a chance to find out more about your new home and its history.
Was this just about the war?
The events of 1914–1918 affected more than those who went away— they touched nearly every New Zealand family, every community, school, workplace and club or group. One indication of this wide-reaching impact is how many New Zealand communities, large or small, have a memorial marking the First World War.
The centenary commemorations honoured the service and sacrifice of those who fought, and also told the stories of the great majority of people who remained at home. With a generation of men overseas, women took on new roles that began to change our workforce and society. At a time of intense pressure to conform, the courage of those who opposed the war, including conscientious objectors, was also acknowledged.
Many of the centenary activities during 2014–2019 focused on family connections, the places we live and work in today, the stories we tell and the freedoms we enjoy.